June 30, 2005
Stop Lying About The Case For War
After listening to the President's speech the other night, two things occurred to me. First, it's time for Democrats to stop accusing the administration of lying about the case for war. The accusation itself is dishonest. Or sadly misinformed - frankly I'm not sure which is worse.
The information is all a matter of public record. If our Democratic brethren-in-Christ are trying to make the case for No Child Left Behind, they could hardly do a better job. And this matter is far too important for people like Harry Reid to toss around words like "liar" lightly.
The Butler Report examined British intelligence - notably the yellowcake uranium claim that Joseph Wilson "debunked" before he was discredited by the Senate. The Senate Select Intelligence Report examined our own intelligence. Both reports concluded that there was no improper manipulation of intelligence from higher up.
Moreover, they concluded that though the intelligence later turned out to be flawed, the administration's reliance on it was reasonable, based on what they knew at the time. I have documented and linked to their conclusions here.
Second, the media and the Democrats need to stop rewriting history on the connection between 9/11, terrorism, al Qaeda, and our decision to go to war in Iraq. It is particularly egregious for members of Congress to do so. But given the penchant of many liberals to revisit the decisions of the past based on what we know now, by all means, let's do so. Perhaps they should be reminded of this little document.
It is high time for a history lesson. America needs to be reminded of why Congress voted to go to war. In the excerpts below, I have documented Congress' rationale with information either known at the time or learned since then. I have stipulated that the case for WMDs has not been borne out, but since that case was based on intel that two official investigations have ruled was believed to be true at the time, it would seem that is irrelevant. Unless of course one seriously contends the Bush administration was at fault for not employing Jeanne Dixon or Miss Cleo (thanks Lawhawk).
At any rate, in reading through the document below, the advantage of leaving OUT the WMD paragraphs is that the reader is then able to see the wealth of OTHER reasons considered by Congress in making the case for war:
Congressional Resolution on Iraq (Passed by House and Senate October 2002)
Joint Resolution to Authorize the use of United States Armed Forces Against Iraq.
Whereas in 1990 in response to Iraq's war of aggression against and illegal occupation of Kuwait, the United States forged a coalition of nations to liberate Kuwait and its people in order to defend the national security of the United States and enforce United Nations Security Council resolutions relating to Iraq;
Saddam started a war in 1990. He had previously started a war in 1980 in which he used a deadly nerve agent which is toxic even in minute doses. In 1988, Iraq again used WMDs on the Kurds at Halabja. His track record with regard to getting along with his neighbors and documented use of WMDs sets him apart from other potential threats like North Korea.
Whereas after the liberation of Kuwait in 1991, Iraq entered into a United Nations sponsored cease-fire agreement pursuant to which Iraq unequivocally agreed, among other things, to eliminate its nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons programs and the means to deliver and develop them,
Details little-reported from the Duelfer report,
"With the infusion of funding and resources following acceptance of the oil-for-food program, Iraq effectively shortened the time that would be required to re-establish [chemical weapon] production capacity," Mr. Duelfer said. "By 2003, Iraq would have been able to produce mustard agent in a period of months and nerve agent in less than a year or two."
Mr. Duelfer said it is "still difficult to rule" on whether Iraq had a mobile biological-weapons production effort, but he noted that Iraq secretly destroyed stocks of biological weapons in 1991 and 1992, after having denied to weapons inspectors that it had such a program.
So far, we have documented that Saddam Hussein harbored terrorists (many with al-Qaeda links) responsible for international mayhem and even the incidental deaths of Americans. But is there any evidence that Iraq sheltered those responsible for attacks on America?
Enter Abdul Rahman Yasin, pictured below in a U.S. State Department "Wanted" poster.
This Indiana-born, Iraqi-reared terrorist remains wanted by the FBI for his role in the February 26, 1993 World Trade Center attack. President Bill Clinton's Justice Department indicted Yasin for mixing the chemicals in the bomb that exploded in the parking garage beneath the Twin Towers, killing six and injuring 1,042 people in New York.
Soon after the smoke cleared, Yasin returned to Iraq. Coalition forces have discovered documents that show he enjoyed housing and a monthly government salary.
Think about that for a few seconds. Still think there's absolutely no connection between Iraq and 9/11? How long have we known about this? Twelve years.
Whereas Iraq persists in violating resolutions of the United Nations Security Council by continuing to engage in brutal repression of its civilian population thereby threatening international peace and security in the region, by refusing to release, repatriate, or account for non-Iraqi citizens wrongfully detained by Iraq, including an American serviceman, and by failing to return property wrongfully seized by Iraq from Kuwait;
Recently uncovered was a mass grave in southern Iraq. Of the 113 bodies exhumed so far, all but 5 were women or children. There are thought to be up to 1500 bodies at the site. But the administration's humanitarian reasons are sneered at many.
Whereas the current Iraqi regime has demonstrated its capability and willingness to use weapons of mass destruction against other nations and its own people;
Already cited: Halabja and the Iran war.
Whereas the current Iraqi regime has demonstrated its continuing hostility toward, and willingness to attack, the United States, including by attempting in 1993 to assassinate former President Bush and by firing on many thousands of occasions on United States and Coalition Armed Forces engaged in enforcing the resolutions of the United Nations Security Council;
This is a violation of the cease-fire agreement: in itself justification for going to war.
Whereas members of al-Qaida, an organization bearing responsibility for attacks on the United States, its citizens, and interests, including the attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, are known to be in Iraq;
Abu Musab al Zarqawi fled his al-Qaeda training camp in Afghanistan after the fall of the Taliban, settling in Baathist Baghdad. He is reported to have received medical care at the Olympic Hospital, run by Uday Hussein. After recovering from his injuries, Zarqawi travelled to northern Iraq where he set up the Ansar al-Islam terrorist training camp.
Whereas Iraq continues to aid and harbor other international terrorist organizations, including organizations that threaten the lives and safety of American citizens;
"Iraq's record of providing support, safe haven, training, logistical assistance and financial aid to terrorist groups like the Abu Nidal organization is why Iraq is listed as a state supporter of terrorism," he said.
Abu Nidal, 65, whose real name was Sabri al-Banna, had a reputation as one of the most ruthless Palestinian guerrilla commanders.
Nidal and his group have been blamed for more than 90 terrorist attacks that killed more than 300 people and wounded 600 others. The attacks struck at Middle Eastern, European and U.S. targets.
Whereas the attacks on the United States of September 11, 2001, underscored the gravity of the threat posed by the acquisition of weapons of mass destruction by international terrorist organizations;
The threat of linking terrorists to nations who have access to WMDs has always existed. We know Saddam had WMDs at one time. We also know you don't need massive quantities of WMDs to cause mass murder - tiny amounts will do.
WHAT WE KNOW NOW: It is important to note that the Duelfer report did not rule out the possibility that Hussein retained small amounts. Also his report concluded that "With the infusion of funding and resources following acceptance of the oil-for-food program, Iraq effectively shortened the time that would be required to re-establish [chemical weapon] production capacity," Mr. Duelfer said. "By 2003, Iraq would have been able to produce mustard agent in a period of months and nerve agent in less than a year or two.
WHAT WE KNEW THEN: Nothing. We thought he possessed WMDs and his history proved he wasn't afraid to use them.
Whereas Iraq's demonstrated capability and willingness to use weapons of mass destruction, the risk that the current Iraqi regime will either employ those weapons to launch a surprise attack against the United States or its Armed Forces or provide them to international terrorists who would do so, and the extreme magnitude of harm that would result to the United States and its citizens from such an attack, combine to justify action by the United States to defend itself;
Remember a little place called Salmon Pak? The following is from a Manhattan trial at which a federal judge ruled there was a link between Iraq and 9/11. That's right, you heard me:
"I believe it is definitely more likely than not that some degree of common effort in the sense of aiding or abetting or conspiracy was involved here between Iraq and the al Qaeda," [former CIA Director] Woolsey said on March 3. President Clinton's CIA chief from 1993 to 1995 added: "Even if one cannot show that...any of the individual 19 hijackers were trained at Salman Pak, the nature of the training and the circumstances suggest, to my mind, at least, some kind of common aiding, abetting, assistance, cooperation — whatever word you might want to take."
"There have been several confirmed sightings of Islamic fundamentalists from Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Gulf states being trained in terror tactics at the Iraqi intelligence camp at Salman Pak," Khidir Hamza, Iraq's former nuclear-weapons chief, told the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee last July 31. "The training involved assassination, explosions and hijacking."
"This camp is specialized in exporting terrorism to the whole world," former Iraqi army captain Sabah Khodada told PBS's Frontline in an October 14, 2001 interview. Khodada worked at Salman Pak. He said that instruction there was "all for the general concept of hitting and attacking American targets and American interests." He added: "We saw people getting trained to hijack airplanes...They are even trained how to use utensils for food, like forks and knives provided in the plane...They are trained how to plant horror within the passengers by doing such actions." A map of the camp Khodada drew for Frontline closely matches satellite photos of the base, thus bolstering his story.
"I was the security officer in charge of the unit," at Salman Pak, an ex-Iraqi lieutenant general told Frontline anonymously in a November 6, 2001 interview. "This unit was under the direct supervision and control of the Iraqi Intelligence Service," he added. "And the fact that the training was concentrated on a plane made it even stranger as far as I was concerned."
And the Marines found the camp, just as reported, after the invasion.
The advantage of a history-based view is simply this: DSM enthusiasts are getting wrapped around the axle about a single sentence from an unsubstantiated memo full of conjectures about what the President may have been thinking.
Yet we have the incontrovertible record of history to show us what he actually did: the case that was made to Congress and to the American people, the fact that he did, indeed, go to the UN, and the fact that we did not "rush to war". All the conspiracy theories in the world don't amount to a hill of beans when confronted with the facts.
And moreover there is substantial evidence, well-known to the mainstream media and to Democratic Congressmen, of numerous links between Iraq and and the 1st World Trade Center attack (planned by al Qaeda, as was the second attack), Iraqi sponsorship of known terrorists, terrorist training camps within Iraq, and the presence of al Qaeda agents in Iraq well before the war.
And Congress' own resolution shows they considered many, many reasons - not just WMDs - for going to war in Iraq.
So stop the hysteria. Calm down. And look at the facts.
Posted by Cassandra at June 30, 2005 05:14 AM
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You are so freaking good at the in depth essay. It takes time, which you don't have a busy working professional former homemaker. And while I smile as I type that, I don't mean any disrespect. This type of work is world class and a credit to the right wing knuckle dragging crowd.
Posted by: KJ at June 30, 2005 10:09 AM
My only quibble is that to be PC, you'd have to hire Clio to do the soothsaying, not Jeanne Dixon. And the result would have been the same - since she couldn't predict her own economic and legal woes.
Posted by: lawhawk at June 30, 2005 10:51 AM
Hear hear! Once again, you have given me much to think about and much to savor.
My knuckles are healing nicely now...must be the high heels I started wearing to keep my knuckles from dragging on the ground.
KJ, you ever get the recipe for making ice?
Posted by: Cricket at June 30, 2005 11:38 AM
As always, well said, but so many of the liberals are discarding the truth, in favor of believing the ravings of Howie Dean and Teddy Kennedy, it's extremely frustrating. Cassandra, I share your peevishness on this subject!
Posted by: JannyMae at June 30, 2005 10:20 PM
Personally, I think peevishness is best enjoyed alone.
Posted by: Pile On at June 30, 2005 11:44 PM
Actually there are quite a few of us who don't consider ourselves liberals who have a hard time quite seeing the ostensible truth as it's being conveyed here.
The administration built a case for WMD which were subsequently not found. Why? Because the U.N. weapons inspectors had indeed done their job and Iraq hadn't bothered to go down that road afterwards for fear of what he'd reap for it. Did we give the inspectors an opportunity to re-evaluate and substantiate what many of them believed before we invaded, to wit: there was no WMD? No, we didn't. With the weight of the certainty of a claim should come the responsibility for eplaining why the certainty was so wrong, especially when it entails the lives of Americans, those we kill collaterally in pursuit of those certainties, and our tax dollars.
Now it's all good and well to make a case that we didn't go over there solely for the reason of WMD. The average American, though, doesn't see it that way for the simple reason that those who were so certain, in spite of whatever weak reasons they had for said certainty, well selling this engagement as a war against terrorism. Sadaam was the man front and center as far as the administration is concerned, and they were going to get him. But here's a piece of history that's avoided here: Sadaam's connection to 9/11 or any other aspect of terrorism, however much in hindsight "may" have seemed valid, was speculative at best. The guy people definitely tied to terrorism and who had attacked this country was singing his way through the hills of Afghanistan and Pakistan along with his Taliban hosts --- and darn it, he still is!
The ties to 9/11 and al Qaeda are fascinating, alas the administration is not making these ties, though bloggers are. Alas, bloggers don't get the exposure they should and frankly I've not enough time in my day to chase these references down. The fact remains no substantive organ of communication, be it congressional or through the media, is making the fascinating connections we see here, and referenced at other blogs. To date there's no evidence of any weight that has made it in any area of the press (which doesn't include blogs)to make the connection for Iraq's support of terrorism, a connection which would be incredibly interesting in light of the fact that it would make Sadaam out to be far more stupid and suicidal than anyone's ever given him credit for --- Bush Sr. attacked him over Kuwait and Bush Jr. would just shake his finger at him for harboring and training terrorists? Righto!
No, it's not the Howard Deans and Ted Kennedy's that are the problem here. There's every reason for thoughtful, non-ideologically inclined Americans to question why we engaged in this endeavor and why so much of it has gone so very wrong.
Posted by: James at July 1, 2005 02:15 PM
With the weight of the certainty of a claim should come the responsibility for eplaining why the certainty was so wrong,
But there is the error in what you say.
THERE WAS NO CLAIM OF CERTAINTY.
The case was simple. He had them once. He has not shown he got rid of them. He keeps kicking the inspectors out. ALL HE HAS TO DO IS PROVE HE GOT RID OF THEM IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE UN RESOLUTION, AND WE'LL LEAVE HIM ALONE.
But if you'll check the record, Hussein declined to do that. Perhaps thoughtful, non-ideologically inclined Americans should be asking themselves WHY NOT?
And another very valid point you decline to consider.
I lose my keys. Have they ceased to exist? NO.
We have not yet found any WMDs. Does that mean they do not exist, or that Saddam did not have them? NO. It means we have not found them.
The great, unreported fact is that neither Kay nor Duelfer examined all of the sites in Iraq. Not by a long shot. Nor were they able to pursue the very real possibility that WMDs were transported over the border to Syria right before the war, as several intel reports indicate they may well have been.
The fact remains no substantive organ of communication, be it congressional or through the media, is making the fascinating connections we see here, and referenced at other blogs.
Actually, a lot of this information has appeared at various times on NPR, the NY Times, the WaPo, and other major papers James. And that is what is so freaking shameful - those same papers turned right around and LIED about the same thing later on. Where do you think blogs get their information? The MSM! It comes hot off the newswires!
It absolutely infuriates me. If you ever want to get really, really angry, spend a weekend on Google. You'd be very surprised to hear the same echo chamber that now says "there is no link" saying the EXACT OPPOSITE when Clinton was in office.
Bush Sr. attacked him over Kuwait and Bush Jr. would just shake his finger at him for harboring and training terrorists?
You forget that everyone thought the Shrub was a moron. Lots of Saddam's insiders have testified that he never believed for an instant that the American people would allow Bush to go to war. Saddam thought he'd get away with Kuwait too. The man never learned from his mistakes.
Posted by: Cassandra at July 1, 2005 03:04 PM
And Saddam got all that nerve gas courtesy of his good friends Reagan and Bush Senior. Precious little outcry on the right when those Kurds were gassed. As long as it was Iranians / Kurds, whatever.
Just another thing puzzles me about you military and related folks - the weapons that really count in terms of terrorism are NUKES. It was pretty well established (to everybody except Dick Cheney) that Saddam didn't have them. Iran and North Korea in fact were (and are) much closer to having nukes (Lil' Kim does have in fact).
Gas weapons are a tactical battlfield weapon. Not a strategic threat.
Posted by: Old Testament Liberal at July 1, 2005 11:18 PM
Unfortunately, OTL, you fail to make a simple connection. Note the trial of terrorists in Jordan who were going to gas the populace. Let's have, say, four 55-gallon drums of Sarin released over New York at lunchtime. Would the resultant deaths be significant to you?
Terrorists are illegal combatants because they do not target the opposing military, but the civilians of the country - you do remember 9-11, don't you? So while gas might not be "strategic" in terms of defeating an enemy military it goes a long way towards demoralizing a population.
Would turning the civilians into sniveling cowards be "strategic"? Your call.
Posted by: Pat'sRick© at July 3, 2005 09:58 PM